The Acting Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko, has disclosed that a total of 80,000 trucks have so far registered on the authority’s electronic call-up system known as ‘eto’ out of which only 16,000 met the minimum safety standards.
This implies that 64,000 trucks conveying goods and out of the port failed to meet the minimum safety standards set by the NPA.
Speaking on a television programme in Lagos last week, the NPA boss also said that the incremental deployment of the electronic call-up system for cargo trucks, launched in February this year, has resolved the gridlock in Apapa.
Bello-Koko, who has made it his top priority to resolve the gridlock by strengthening the electronic call-up system since his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in May, assured stakeholders that the situation will improve further in the weeks ahead.
He explained that while the authority was not unmindful of the pains of Apapa residents, what remains to fully end the gridlock is the repair of the failed portion of the Mile 2–Tin-Can Port road.
He said as soon as repair of the Tin Can Island Port highway is completed, the perennial gridlock within Apapa would be completely eliminated.
“After this, we will fully deploy the eto call-up infrastructure for trucks along the Tin Can Island Port corridor,” he said.
Debunking insinuations that the eto system has been compromised, the NPA helmsman said, “The eto truck booking system was launched in February, and when I assumed office my first act was to carry out a comprehensive review of the system and we directed the system manager to immediately address all areas of deficiencies.
“These infrastructure upgrades coupled with the support of the Lagos State Government and other stakeholders, the vehicular gridlock along the Ijora – Apapa axis had reduced by over 80 percent and I am sure residents of Apapa can attest to this,” he said.
According to him, as part of efforts to kick-off the electronic call-up system, a fully automated transit truck park was established while 29 satellite parks were approved to ensure that trucks coming to do business in the port are properly profiled and verified before accessing the port.
Bello-Koko further stated that NPA has fully embraced multimodal transportation by encouraging the use of barges and rail for the movement of laden and empty containers in and out of the ports, a development that has brought significant reduction in the cost of doing business at the ports.
He noted that apart from a few isolated cases where some truck drivers try to subvert the system by not adhering strictly to the truck manifest arrangement with its attendant disruption, the e-call up has been able to streamline cargo evacuation and truck movements, thereby bringing a level of sanity to the roads.
“Out of the 29 parks, about eight have met the required standards, which include installation of bollards, CCTVs, automated gate systems and relevant IT equipment,” he said.
Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to www.shipsandports.com.ng as the source.